Chicago Teachers WIN! Everyone Else Loses…

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Folks, unless you are a public school teacher, you are probably in the wrong business.

I get that this is an election year, and that the teacher lobby is huge, incredibly well-funded, and that public school teachers vote. But really, looking at how the strike resolved, one can only assume that children, families, even America just does not rate with public school teachers or the Chicago government. What matters to them? Only the satisfaction of an extraordinarily overpaid, under-productive, destructive subset we call “public school teachers” matters.

What else can one assume?

After all, look at the perks these people won in their seven day “strike”, the one ending today with 350,000 children returning to prison…sorry, I meant public schools.

1) A 3% raise for teachers this year, 2% raises the next two years, a 3% raise four years from now (if they do not strike again at that time). All of these annual raises on top of the average teacher salary in Chicago, $76,000 a year! For a nine month year. Folks, that’s over $8,000 a month per teacher, around $2,000 per work week for the AVERAGE teacher. Plus their new pay raises. Plus those salary bumps, all in addition to already existing salary bumps these people get for experience.

And by the way, when teachers complain that they are “required” (they’re not) to attain higher degrees, as a guy named Clark wrote in his comment to me a few days ago, they never happen to mention that teachers also get extra pay to pursue higher degrees.

Why did they strike? To quote Bill Clinton, “it’s the money, stupid”. The strike was not, however much teachers like to claim with croc tears running down their well-fed cheeks, for your kids. More on that later.

2) The “sticking point” of the negotiations at the end had to do with teacher accountability. The Chicago government presented the pretense of demanding that teachers who do not perform, whose students do poorly in tests, be somehow degraded in pay or even fired. But you know that the teacher unions got rid of that one, but fast. Public school teachers (and the government that supports them) cannot allow their monumental, almost incomprehensible failure to educate the nation be evaluated – not by anyone, not with such lucrative jobs at stake. For they would almost all of them wind up unemployed.

It all supposedly nearly went to court. Again, the government pretended that they would file an injunction forcing teachers back into the classrooms on Wednesday. But just before that could happen, well…the teachers got pretty much everything they wanted and the strike suddenly came to an end. No appearance before a judge required. Very convenient indeed.

And what sort of disgusting, unbelievable nonsense did these paragons of education spout at the end of their strike? One was heard to say “We’ll continue to fight for the soul of public education.” Well, that soul apparently is made of greenbacks, and has nothing to do with students. Teachers didn’t strike to improve education. In fact, a big reason they struck was that they were asked to work a full eight hour day, in order to better service children. They resisted that one, as they resist anything actually performance based.

Improving education is not on the teacher union agenda It never has been.

The reality – the vast bulk of public school teachers care almost solely for their jobs. Surely the reality of the negotiating points in this strike are the proof of this sad truth. These “teachers” do not care about their students. It’s a very high-paying job, without the “curse” of quality control that one would have in almost any other job, and that’s all public school teaching is about, today. It’s not a calling, nothing sacred and nothing that we should any of us respect beyond the results they achieve. Their results are execrable, even criminal, and that is the level of pay and respect these people truly deserve. Literacy and functional literacy continue to plummet throughout the country. Drop-out rates are astronomical, ranging in large cities almost always between 36-52%! In Chicago, the number borders on 40%. Remember, that’s the percentage that they admit to. It is astronomical. This is true across the country. One research center determined that 857 students drop out of high school in the U.S. every hour of every school day! That’s a fine job our teachers are doing.

These people deserve more money? They magically rate (and certainly demand) inviolable jobs that cannot be ended, no matter how badly they do those jobs? Well, they’re fighting for the “soul” of education…which is why these teachers tried to shut down, as a part of their strike, Charter Schools in Chicago. The teacher negotiators claimed that Charter Schools are an attempt by government to privatize education!

If only!

I’d point out that some 50,000 students did go to school during this strike. Students who did attend school this past week in Chicago were enrolled in those very Charter Schools, which at least made a pretense of continuing education in Chicago even as thousands of self-righteous, wildly over-privileged, delusional teachers marched in the streets.

Oh, yes, homeschoolers kept up their work, too, by the way. Homeschoolers really don’t care about teachers outside of the heavy bite in their taxes that public schools they will never use devour. So far as homeschoolers care, the schools could all close tomorrow.

One truly not-bright parent was heard to announce at the end of the strike, “Thank goodness! Now I believe they’re putting the children first!”

She does? They are? What possible proof is there for her conclusion?

Did she say this because her enforced stint as a daytime nanny/sudden educator came to a welcome end, freeing her once again from primary responsibility for her children?

This strike did nothing for children, and was never intended to. The strike did nothing for Chicago or its families. It only served public school teachers who insist that they be endlessly paid and pampered, and never, ever required to produce.

As I‘ve said before and will say again, teacher unions represent teachers. They do not represent children. Children have no union. Their “representation” is entirely up to you, mom and dad.

So, what do I recommend? Rather than cheering that the schools are open again, as this one self-involved mother did, pull your children from public schools.

Remember, public and private schools get paid by head count. The more students in a school, the more money is made available to the school. That’s why we have endlessly overfilled classrooms, and why roll call is taken each day. You can bankrupt the schools if enough of you homeschool. That’s why teacher unions want those pesky charter schools closed. That’s why those same teacher unions are death on homeschooling, and continuously try to get laws passed to restrict or kill it. Make no mistake, those smiling, cheerful, teachers are behind any motion to end or limit homeschooling.

Why would teachers, who claim to care about the welfare of children, wish to stop anything that actually worked to educate those same children? It’s the money, stupid.

Want to end all this? Homeschool your children. It can be done, millions of people do it now, many of them single parents with restrictive circumstances. It’s all about responsibility in the end. Public schools will never take responsibility for their failures or, really, their students. These are your children. Parents, over to you.

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